In a recent interview, Craig Simpson from the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) said indoor sports like ice hockey have been treated differently to their outdoor counterparts during the return to play scheme.
The EIHA spokesperson talked about how teams have struggled to train properly throughout the pandemic and how the sport, along with other indoor sports, provided evidence to Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which proved that the risk in under 18s was no greater indoors in comparison to outdoor competition.
The training over the last year has been limited, with teams unable to train as a whole due to social restrictions. This is now in the process of changing as of May 17th more of the grassroots teams will be able to train together and more age groups will be allowed to get back into the sport after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed the next stage of the UK’s Covid-19 exit strategy would go ahead.
“It’s been difficult, when we had the pause, last March, everything shut down and nobody knew if it was gonna be a week, a month. I don’t think anybody ever thought it would be a year. Everything had to stop, ice rinks were closed down. So it was getting the junior players practising outside through the summer in the first lockdown, So you had a lot of teams doing outdoor training sessions, keep fit sessions on zoom and basically just keeping in touch with each other.
“It feels like we’ve been treated differently and more harshly, and we couldn’t see the justification for that, but when we were looking at the evidence and we made our case to government that the indoor risk, and the young people in particular wasn’t any greater that kind of fell on deaf ears so we stayed at the end of the queue.”Craig Simpson, EIHA Media and Communications
Until recently there has been no form of competition at any level in Ice Hockey, and only now has the Elite Ice Hockey League restarted with all other leagues set to follow on June 21st.
By this time next year Craig believes British Ice Hockey will be back to where it was before the sport’s year long absence during the pandemic.